How Dr. Uchenna "UC" Ossai Fell in Love with Pelvic Floor Therapy

Sex-Positive Pelvic Health Therapist

At 15, she knew pelvic health therapy was her life's calling.

12/29/17

interviewed by Natalie Pattillo

Iconversation

When UC Ossai was 15, her plan was to venture out of Dallas, Texas after high school graduation. Knowing her goals, UC's mom, a Nigerian immigrant and chemist, encouraged her to apply for summer internships. That way, UC's resume would have the edge it needed to impress out-of-state universities. She took her mom's advice and scored two internships—one with the finance department for the Dallas Cowboys and the other with a physical therapist. She assumed the latter was a gig with orthopedic therapist, but quickly she'd be learning about pelvic floor health with Dr. Kathy Tisko instead. A spark went off while working with the doctor, and UC found her life's calling.

"Physical therapists are exceptional healers on so many different levels," she said enthusiastically. "Particularly when you're dealing with issues of incontinence, cancer, or pelvic pain, it just takes a whole special set of skills."

UC will never forget when Dr. Tisko told one of her patients that "the only thing normal about urinary incontinence is that it's common; it's not supposed to be a badge of honor for womanhood. If you have a baby or are 70 years old, you're not supposed to be leaking for the rest of your life.” After seeing how much trust Dr. Tisko earned from her patients, UC fell in love with the speciality.

UC got her Bachelor's degree from Boston University and went on to pursue a clinical doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Illinois. As a doctoral student, UC was selected as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

During her fellowship, UC created a program called "The Wellness Circle", which was a sustainable community health program that addressed the needs of homeless teens and young adults in Chicago. It was during this time she learned about the unique health, cultural, and social challenges that are faced by members of not only the homeless, but also the LGBTQIA community.

"Many of the community members I worked with came from the foster system or were kicked out of their homes for being gay or transgender. Once on the streets, they had to do whatever they could to survive, which meant taking jobs that made them vulnerable to violence, abuse, and exploitation."

Uchenna Ossai

 

From there, UC knew there was more to learn if she wanted to be one of the best. To become even more of a pelvic floor powerhouse, UC completed her residency in Women’s Health at the Washington University at St. Louis. Then, she continued her post-graduate training at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she received her certificate in Sexuality Education and Counseling. I mean, what can't this woman do?

Today, UC is a sex-positive pelvic health physical therapist, sex educator, on faculty for the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program, and the executive board treasurer for the APTA Section of Women's Health. By the way, she's also one of three licensed physical therapists in the world with an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) certification in sexuality counseling as well as the only Black physical therapist with that designation. By day, UC treats people with sexual and pelvic floor dysfunction, and by night, she tackles hard to talk about sex topics. Starting to see why she's our speed?

Uchenna Ossai

If you haven't checked out her website called YouSeeLogic or her Instagram, you're missing out. UC has a gift for distilling medical conditions, putting them in plain English, and destigmatizing them with humor and zest. Our kind of woman! For many, talking about vaginal dryness, oral sex and leakage, or pelvic pain isn't easy.

Her website was inspired from feedback she received from patients, and includes videos (a jackpot in sex-positive pelvic health info) that UC put together so people would feel less alone or scared about their bodies. 

"I started it by doing the videos, because I was so sad to hear the experiences of my patients," she explained. "I heard time and time again, 'I wish I met you 20 years ago', 'I wish you told me this 15 years ago,' 'I've been married for 20 years and I've never enjoyed sex,' or 'I've been peeing my pants since the minute I had my child.'"

On YouSeeLogic, anyone can confidentially reach out to her with any pressing Qs you might have. She's thrilled to help everyone—men, women, LGBTQ folks—overcome any shame or silence they might have about sex, leakage, or pelvic pain. 

"The number one thing that people say to me thank you for not being judgmental. I want to empower people and communities to feel good about their sexuality." 

 *~Have a question for the unstoppable Dr. UC? Comment below or drop her a line.~*

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